VALPARAISO | Wearing dress shoes, slacks and skirts, eighth-graders at Benjamin Franklin Middle School went room to room Wednesday afternoon, searching for advice on their future careers.
Guidance counselor Rebekah Cowan said the school's annual career day is more than just speakers at podiums. It's meant to be an interactive exercise to get teens planning for high school and beyond.
"We're getting into the time when they're going to have to start selecting classes for high school and hopefully this will help them make the right choices for their career goals," Cowan said.
After attending a session on science and health careers, eighth grader Megan Welsh said she felt comfortable continuing in her goal to combine the two areas.
"I really want to be a marine biologist," she said.
Veterinarian Larry McAfee said it's important for students to find a career they enjoy. In practice for the past 37 years, McAfee said he still loves working with small and exotic pets.
"I've loved animals ever since I was a little kid," McAfee said. "I love what I do."
McAfee said schooling for many careers is becoming more competitive and told students they have to strive for the best grades as possible. He said with fewer than 40 universities in the country with veterinary programs, many require 3.7 grade point averages for admission.
Cindy Sergent, a critical care nurse at Porter hospital for the past 14 years, told students while many fields may seem rather broad, there are always a variety of specialties. She said in the health field, for example, while many think of doctors and nurses, there are a variety of other careers -- ranging from the back office to the operating room.
Sergent also said some of the gender-stereotype walls in medicine are also crumbling down.
"It used to be where there were many more women in nursing than men. Now, we have almost as many men getting into the nursing field as women," Sergent said. "It's a good living."